Reuters reported this morning that top brass from China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier by both subscribers and market valuation, and Apple’s head honcho Steve Jobs met “several times on introducing an iPhone based on its network standard”. Did Jobs travel incognito or was he accompanying Apple’s operations wizard Tim Cook during his China tour (snapped paparazzi-style in the shot below)?
More likely, Jobs probably hosted China Mobile reps in Cupertino.
Interestingly, China Mobile counts a cool 7.44 million iPhone users on its network, although it doesn’t carry the handset yet and iPhone users cannot tap 3G speeds on their TD-SCDMA 3G network.
Apple’s been alleged previously as wanting to release an iPhone optimized for China Mobile’s fourth-generation TD-LTE network. The Wall Street Journal chimed in with sources saying the gadget maker and China Mobile are close to cutting a deal set to open up the carrier’s 600+ million subscribers to Apple’s phone. The highest-level meeting isn’t surprising considering that Apple is only “scratching surface” in China, having reported in the June quarter a sixfold growth in the country for a total of $3.8B in revenues from operations in the country.